- First Defense Legal Aid
Each year at the First Defender Award Reception, we honor someone who's achieved a significant feat to advance our missions and values. Two groups make up this year's honorees: The Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus & the Englewood 4.
The Black Caucus worked to secure the city's investment in emergency legal services for Chicago arrestees that aims to see three times the current rate of arrestees' receiving legal aid by the end of the calendar year.
The experience of the Englewood 4 allowed Chicagoans to learn about the prevalence, nature, and consequences of incommunicado detention. Innocent men, the Englewood 4 were convicted of murder based on false confessions they gave while alone with police. We honor their sacrifice and know it brings Chicago closer to consensus on the effects of having fewer than 2% of arrestees able to access their right to counsel.